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Apple offers iPhone 4S upgrade eligibility check, pre-orders start Oct. 7 at 12:01 a.m.

Before iPhone 4S preorders begin this Friday just after midnight Pacific Time, some customers can check their eligibility for discounted upgrade pricing through Apple's official website.

The newly announced iPhone 4S will be available next Friday, Oct. 14 starting at 8 a.m. local time. But customers will be able to reserve the phone a week ahead of time, starting this Friday at 12:01 a.m. Pacific, 3:01 a.m. Eastern.

In order to simplify the buying process, Apple is offering customers the ability to check eligibility for a discounted upgrade with their current carrier. Some customers may qualify for the maximum subsidy with a new service contract, placing the iPhone 4S at a starting price of $199 for the 16GB model.

Those eligible for upgrade pricing also have options in the 32GB iPhone 4S for $299, and the new high-end 64GB model priced at $399 with subsidy. All models are available in both black and white.

In the U.S., customers can currently check their upgrade eligibility with AT&T and Verizon, the two largest wireless providers in the nation. The ability to check with Sprint, which is the latest carrier to partner with Apple to carry the iPhone, is advertised as "coming soon."

Sporting Apple's speedy A5 dual-core processor, the iPhone 4S is the only way to experience Siri, Apple's new voice command and recognition software. Using natural language, users can execute complex tasks handsfree, doing activities like checking weather and traffic, composing an e-mail or a text message, or adding an appointment to a calendar.

The iPhone 4S sports the same design as its predecessor, the iPhone 4, but adds a new 8-megapixel camera and redesigned camera architecture that allow for even higher quality photos. The iPhone 4S features 1080p high-definition video with image stabilization, and a custom f2.4 lens with an advanced hybrid IR filter. Images are captured at a resolution of 3,264-by-2,448 pixels.

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The iPhone 4S will launch on Oct. 14 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K. It will be available from the Apple Online Store, Apple's retail stores, and through AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and select Apple Authorized Resellers in the U.S.

Apple has planned a speedy international rollout of the iPhone 4S, which means customers around the world won't have to wait as long for Apple's newest smartphone. The iPhone 4S is planned to debut in 22 more countries by the end of October, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.